The drive south was long, and a two hour fight to the death for viewing space at the IDF Officer Graduation Ceremony (think 800 proud Israeli parents with Mary Poppins-like coolboxes containing the entire gamut of world cuisine) finished us off. In that all-too-short hour where Israeli day meets dusk, marital compromise (Beresheet luxury v Ecotent shanti) led us to House in the Desert (Bait Be Midbar), located in a unprepossessing residential neighborhood in Mitzpe Ramon.
Slightly disappointed with no crater in evidence, the interior restored us. Spacious rooms, calm colors, bleached floors, handmade furniture, white linen, stone bathroom. Modern Rustic with a Desert twist. With little extras for that pampered feeling. Fruit, nuts, slivers of good dark chocolate. A bottle of boutique red wine for a reasonable price, mineral water, tea and coffee, and eggs to cook as you like in the morning.
The guest house has 5 rooms. We didn’t realize it was just us for the night until we returned from our evening meal to find the place deserted. Us, five neighborhood cats, a hot tub in a pretty terraced garden scented with mint, verbena, and lemon geranium. Bliss.
A soak under a starlit sky of the kind that never visits the center or north. Fluffy robes. A glass of soft red from the Carmey Avdat winery. And slight bewilderment at our trustworthy hosts, who presumably assumed we wouldn’t run off with the towels and bath taps.
The hot tub, followed by a shower (shampoo, soap, body lotion provided), green tea, chocolate, dates, and a movie left us, along with the visiting cats, purring our way into sleep.
Breakfast arrived at 8.30. Hot crusty bread, scrambled eggs, green salad, butter and cheeses, homemade jam and marmalade, quinoa and cranberries, granola, orange juice. Breakfast of the best Israeli kind (fresh, interesting, no borekas) kept us filled until late afternoon.
Late Thursday morning, after a short crater hike and a quick reccy around Mitzpe, we made our way north. As the desert retreated routine returned. The phone started ringing. The kids started needing. But even as chaos arrived to chase away calm, a relaxed feeling resolutely remained. Of good memories of Mitzpe, and 24 hours well stolen.